California is considering a bill to mandate implicit bias training for brokers and salespersons in the real estate industry.

In California, employers generally have to ensure their employees are trained regarding harassment prevention in the workplace, and more employers also are seeking to train employees about bias and related issues.

If passed, Senate Bill 263 would mandate that real estate brokers and salespersons complete a two-hour course on implicit bias as part of their continuing education requirements. This training would include a component on the impact of implicit bias, explicit bias, and systemic bias on consumers, as well as the historical and social impacts of those biases.

The training also would need to include actionable steps real estate brokers and salespersons can take to recognize and address their own implicit biases.

The Senate analysis of the bill states the purpose of the bill is to:

help correct generations of bias against people of color in housing practices. By mandating implicit bias training for real estate licensees, real estate professionals will be better equipped to recognize and disrupt their implicit biases, allowing them to ensure the dream of homeownership can be achieved regardless of color.

This proposed legislation comes at a time when state and local fair housing agencies across the country are scrutinizing potential discriminatory housing practices in the real estate industry more closely. Even absent a legislative mandate, real estate employers may benefit from voluntarily training their brokers and salespersons about fair housing practices.